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Indigenous eye care services are being significantly enhanced as a result of telemedicine being rolled out by the Indigenous and Remote Eye Health Service (IRIS) in remote areas of Western Australia (WA).
The first communities to benefit from the new telemedicine effort are the remote Kimberley and Pilbara regions of WA. Health care workers in Broome, Derby, East Perth, Karratha, Kununurra, Roeburne, and South Hedland began utilising IRIS advanced telemedicine packages with their patients from the 25 October 2011.
The new equipment installed gives specialists and health workers the ability to conference and collaborate through a visual medium that has previously not been possible. Local health practitioners are now able to treat eye conditions in their clinics in close consultation with city-based ophthalmologists.
The new equipment also supports the detection and treatment of diabetic retinopathy, a common complication of diabetes which is widespread in Indigenous communities.
Funding was provided by the Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health for the purchase of the equipment.